Westham founder of Sussex Guild receives honour for his services to craftspeople

Mr Farnoff at his home with one of his pieces of art (Photo by Jon Rigby)
Mr Farnoff at his home with one of his pieces of art (Photo by Jon Rigby)

A 91-year-old Westham man who brought the crafting community together has been celebrated in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Samuel James Fanaroff has been granted a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to craftspeople in Sussex after he set up The Sussex Guild 50 years ago.

Mr Farnoff in his workshop (Photo by Jon Rigby)

Mr Farnoff in his workshop (Photo by Jon Rigby)

He said, “It came out the blue, I had no idea.

“We were all surprised. You do your work and never think in terms of my reward.”

An ethos of co-operation, mutual aid and inclusivity were his reasons for establishing the organisation.

Mr Fanaroff, who spent decades chairing meetings, organising events, and counselling his peers, said, “When I formed the guild I was a practising craftsman, the object was facilitating our survival.

(Photo by Jon Rigby)

(Photo by Jon Rigby)

“What we attempted to do was create not just a trade association but a community of craftsmen, that was the ethos, with a concern for the individual.

“So many people have benefitted from its existence, financially and socially. I’m quite proud of some of the things I did.”

Mr Fanaroff’s works have been exhibited at The Society of Designer Craftsmen on numerous occasions.

One of his favourite pieces is a sculpture called The Hollow Men, inspired by a poem by T S Eliot.